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Dave Grube is a retired college basketball coach whose career included head coaching positions at Heidelberg from 1972-76, Capital from 1978-86, and Kent State from 92-96. Coach Grube was an assistant coach at Kent State from 1986-1992 including Mike’s entire four year career under Head Coach Jim McDonald. He also worked as an assistant at Central Michigan from 1998-2005.
The owner of a 216-193 career record as a head coach, Grube won two Ohio Athletic Conference titles and made three straight Div. III NCAA appearances at Capital.
A basketball and track athlete at Northwestern High School in Ohio before graduating in 1962, Grube went on to play basketball for Kent State’s freshman team.
He turned his attention to coaching soon after graduating from Kent and landed his first college job as a graduate assistant for Coach Al Van Wie at Wooster from 1970-72.
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Be prepared to learn from one of the coaches that impacted me as a player and as a person, longtime college basketball coach, Dave Grube.
What We Discuss with Dave Grube
- The 1960 National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes
- His Hall of Fame High School Coaches and the influence they had on him
- Being coached by Bill Musselman on the freshman team at Kent State
- Getting his first coaching job, while he was still in college
- Coaching Junior High and teaching English
- Moving up from Junior High to a college coaching job as an assistant at Wooster
- Becoming the head coach at Heidelberg College at age 28
- Moving on to become the head coach at Capital
- Interviewing for the Kent job before Jim McDonald gets hired
- Leaving Capital to join Coach McDonald’s staff at Kent
- The difference between D1 and D3 players
- Mike’s Kent State recruiting story
- Pre-season conditioning at Kent under Coach McDonald
- Some funny Kent State Basketball stories and memories
- Making the very first recruiting call to Tim Duncan!
- The new D1 transfer rule and how much the off-season has changed in D1 since Mike was playing
- The changes in the game since his coaching career ended
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THANKS, DAVE GRUBE
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TRANSCRIPT FOR DAVE GRUBE – RETIRED COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH, FORMER ASSISTANT & HEAD COACH AT KENT STATE – EPISODE 316
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. Mike Klinzing here with my co-host, Jason Sunkle tonight. We are pleased to welcome to the podcast my former coach at Kent State University, Coach Dave Grube. Coach, welcome to the podcast.
Dave Grube: [00:00:12] Thank you, Mike. Glad to be with you.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:14] We are super excited to have you on. You and I got reconnected about, I guess three or four weeks ago. I got to hop on the phone for about an hour and just talk and reminisce. I’m looking forward to doing that in a more public realm here tonight. Want to go and start by goin back in time to when you were a kid. And let’s talk about how you got in the game of basketball when you were younger.
Dave Grube: [00:00:33] Okay. Mike, we’re going to go way back. I am old school. We are going to go way back, but I, I grew up in the Worcester area in Wayne County, lived in Ohio, of course. And as a kid. Okay. Ohio State was, was the big thing right then and still is today. But if you remember. Ohio State won the national [00:01:00] championship in 1960.
And that’s, we’re talking about Jerry Lucas. John Havlicek, all of those guys and those guys were, were my idols. I mean, anytime I could listen to them on the radio or watch them on TV and there weren’t that many games on TV, then why I did the same time, as a seventh and eighth grader in my high school.
Northwestern, which is right outside of Wooster was winning the state championship. And it was really kind of a powerhouse locally and locally. We’re talking about Bob Knight, a few miles away at Orville, Bill Musselman who, coached at Ashland then Minnesota. And then the Cleveland Cavaliers we have right here in Wooster.
And that was a time when outdoor courts were lit in games would go on to 12 o’clock and I would get involved as a junior high kid in those games. And those were guys that I idolized and my co [00:02:00] coaches, the junior high coaches, my high school coaches, Roy Bates, who’s a hall of fame coach in Ohio and Dan Baker.
Another hall of fame coach were really outstanding and they did a great job of teaching fundamentals. Northwestern Mike and Jason did not have football. So everything was basketball and baseball. And we had a, a player who was really good in basketball, but even a better baseball player, Dean Chance who went on and won the sight young award than when I was a freshman in high school.
Dean was a senior. And as I said before, Northwestern won the state championship in 1958. And that’s when there were only two classes. So it was much tougher to get down to Columbus at that time, but they won it in 58. They were runners up in 59 and you know, my coaches were, were the best teachers at school and they really motivated me to get into [00:03:00] coaching.
And so I had a pretty good high school career and, and, you know, was recruited by division three schools, you know, Ashland, Mount union. What’s your a little bit, in my, my coaches encouraging me to go to Ashlyn, but you know, money was kind of a problem. And I ended up going to Kent state and made the, the freshmen team that’s when freshmen were not eligible for varsity.
So I made the freshmen team as a walk on and really got to play a good bit as a freshmen. had some good games. I remember against Toledo and. We played Youngstown. And so I was encouraged to come back my sophomore year only to get cut, but the coaches were good enough to me. They said, we’d like to have you maybe, maybe hang on.
But at the same token, they told me there was a coaching job available in the system assistance, coaching job at Kent state [00:04:00] university high school. And they had a new coach because their former coach Bill Musselman. Left to go to Ashland college, to become the head coach there and the new head coach at Kent State University High School, Walt fuel, you needed an assistant, which was a paying job.
So I became his assistant for two and a half, three years, and it really started off my coaching career. And by the same token, when I was in the program at Kent state as a freshman player, Bill Musselman was a graduate assistant and he would coach the freshmen team at times. It’s funny because right now the Division one programs probably have on the staff, maybe six or seven people at that time, there were only three coaches at Kent state university and the program Bob Bell was the head coach.
Art Welch was the assistant. And the second assistant was bill Musselman. Who’s the graduate assistant that time. And not [00:05:00] only was he a graduate assistant. In basketball, but also football. And then he went on and made, you know, had a great career as a, as a, as a basketball coach, as I said, at Minnesota, Ashland, Minnesota, and then with the Cavaliers, Well high school coach Dan Baker, when he left, he left Northwestern to go to Marion and he told me, well, when you get out of school, I’m going to have a job for you.
So I thought, well, I’ll go over and be his assistant. So I graduated from Kent, went over to Marion only to find out that coach Baker, his philosophy was well, you’re going to have to work your way up. So Marion had three junior highs in the junior highs were grade seven, eight and nine. And Coach Baker said, I am going to put you in the worst junior high.
We re we very rarely get players out of Edison, junior high, Dave, you’re going to have to coach [00:06:00] Edison junior high. You stay there a couple of years and I’ll move you up to the high school. And the only teaching job they had was English. And I did minor in English at camp. So I had to teach English. And I coached junior high basketball, and then two years we won the championship and, you know, I worked my tail off developing players and a lot of the players ended up playing for Marion Harding or guys that came from, Edison Junior High.
The only problem was once I was moved up and this was before title nine, really? So it was boys basketball and I was the varsity assistant. Mike and Jason, and as a varsity assistant, I was there for all the varsity practices, which went from afterschool until around six o’clock. Then the JV team would come in.
I also had to stay for those practices. So I was basically in the gym. After teaching [00:07:00] five classes of English, I was in the gym from like three 30, until eight o’clock at night only to go home and have to grade English papers. After about two years of that. it was, I thought I I’ve got to do something else.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:15] That’s like a fun time. Dave grading, all those English papers.
Dave Grube: [00:07:21] Oh, by you, you can’t say, well, just change papers and grade each other papers. You’re grading themes and all of that, you can, you can relate to that. So that’s why I teach math. There you go. You can change papers there. So I found out that the college of Wooster.
Had an assistant coaching job. And I thought, why have no chance of going from a high school assistant to a college assistant, but Hey, I’ll try their assistant at Wooster. John Hall’s left his position as an assistant at Wooster to go with Bobby Knight, who now was the head [00:08:00] coach at West Point. So I interviewed for his position and had a great interview.
Al Van Wie, the head coach at Wooster. We really hit it off. And he saw that, you know, I was, you know, my, my philosophy was man to man defense and to teach fundamental shooting and all that. And so I got a hirde. The only problem was the only problem was they did not. At division three, you have to teach.
As well as coach and they didn’t have a teaching position in the phys ed department. However, I had gotten my master’s degree at bowling green and I did have a master’s degree in guidance. So I had half the job was working out of the Dean’s office. And they had an apartment set up for my wife and I in one of the men’s dorms.
So we had [00:09:00] Lee, we had the live in a men’s dorm and they had a nice apartment set up. I mean, beautiful, but all their dorm rooms were adjacent to the hallway. So I would be out scouting and recruiting on Friday night, my wife would be left alone in a men’s dorm. Maybe taking a bath or trying to watch TV and guys out on Friday night, students would come in, knock on the door, not realizing it was a coach’s apartment.
After two years of that, it was kind of tough. And God bless her for, for putting up with that. But we had really two good years of Wooster. We were 23 and three, my first year we had a really good garbling there. And so, and, and the basketball camp at that time, Wooster had the first basketball camp in Ohio and Mike and Jason, the camp drew roughly around 400 kids a week.
We would go [00:10:00] five weeks with three to 400 kids a week. you don’t see that now because of a AAU and everything, but a lot of these kids were, were guys that would go on and play division one basketball. And the camp would run from Sunday. That’s when kids would check in until Saturday noon. So after five weeks of that, I mean, you were, you, you, if you didn’t love basketball while you were in trouble, because it really grained you, but what a great camp and just a great experience.
So after two years of Wooster and living in a dorm, and being coach fan waste assistant, I felt I was ready for a head job. Wooster was a member of the Ohio conference and the Ohio conference, really a strong division three conference. There were 14 teams in the conference and the 14 teams, or, you know, like Wittenberg, Capital, Baldwin, Wallace.
[00:11:00] the worst team in the conference was Heidelberg and they were two and 19 two years in a row. The Heidelberg job came open. I applied for and got the job. So now I’m a head college coach at Heidelberg at the age of 28 and I got on campus and I assume Sue realized while, but I soon realized how they were were two and 19.
I mean, everything was football, basketball wasn’t very important. We, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. And in four years, why we, we had a winning season. In fact, my first season, the first game we’re playing Marietta, we had to start off with a conference game.
So we’re playing Marietta who was supposed to be pretty good that particular year, Phil Roach, who was a head coach, former assistant at Ohio [00:12:00] University. So he brought his team and to TIFF and to play us over Thanksgiving vacation. So. I come out on the week. I’m out on the floor for pregame, more of up the game.
I think there were about 50 people in the stands, 50 people, half of those people left at halftime because the football team was returning from winning the Stag Bowl. So it was, it was a downer to win our first game and only have less than 50 people. The stands. Me coming from Wooster, where the last game I coached last game at coach Wooster.
We played Capital in front of 3000 people. People were lined up at five o’clock down bell Avenue to get into the gym, to see us beat Capital. So it was kind of a downer, but I knew it was a great place for him to start. And we were able to recruit some good kids. And from there I went to Capital, really a good situation and other division three school in the same conference.
[00:13:00] And, you know, we, we were able to get teams in the NCAA tournament and, I was fortunate to interview for some head division one jobs. I interviewed at Akron or the lose, the Bob Huggins. I interviewed at, Youngstown state and Jimmy Clemons, a former Ohio State player got that job I interviewed and I told Mike this other day, At Capital one year, I think it was 1982.
We get an NCAA tournament. We go down to North Carolina, upset the number one team in the nation in the regional, we go then up to California to play Cal state Stanislaus, where we lost. And we did all this without our best player. Eric Morrison, who was from Lorain Admiral King. Who tore a tendon in his ankle and couldn’t play out there.
Otherwise we might’ve won a national championship that year. That anyways, we get [00:14:00] back Sunday and my phone rings. As soon as we walk in the house, we get back from San Francisco, walk in the house, my wife and I, and get a phone call from Paul Amodio the athletic director again. And he says, Dave, you probably, you may or may not know we have a head Oak, we have a opening for a head basketball coach.
We’d like to hear you, you, if you’re interested, do you think you’d be interested? I said, yes, but I really need to notify my president. The people that I’m doing this, he says, well, we’re, we’re kind of late in the process. I said, well, when would you like to interview me? He said tomorrow night or tomorrow morning at eight o’clock.
I grew up up there without notifying anybody to the Rorion walked in. They have a big conference table with about 15 people sitting around. I interview. I think it goes pretty well. But during the interview, one of the questions was, well, we really haven’t been [00:15:00] able to attract blue chip athletes to Kent.
How would you do that? How would you overcome that? And my answer was, well, a good friend of mine is Jim McDonald. And I know he’s, he’s the assistant coach at Toledo. And I said, I know what they do. They really try and get players, recruit players who are very passionate about the game. They have a good work ethic oriented.
I said, you can win that way. And that’s how I would try and win a camp. Long story short, Jim McDonald gets the Kent job and I told him later, I said, I got you that job. Cause I talked about you for a bit during the interview process. So stay the Capitol a few more years. And then coach McDonald contacted me.
He said his one assistant was leaving and he said, if you’ll come up to camp with me and helped me maintain the program or build the [00:16:00] program. You know, you’ll have a good chance of getting the job when I retire, which I don’t see myself coaching that much longer. So that’s how I ended up being the head coach at camp.
So that’s, that’s kind of my coaching career. And, I did meet coach McDonald when I got my masters of Bowling Green. That’s how I met coach McDonald. He was an assistant at Bowling Green at that time. And I would go to classes in the morning and then I would go over to his office and we would talk basketball.
And that’s how I, that’s how I developed a relationship with Jim McDonald. And he would come down to the Capitol. He came down a couple of times to watch my team practice and, you know, we developed a good friendship and I enjoy, of course that was, Mike said, coach at camp. I enjoyed my time. I think I ended up spending six years at Kent before I became the head coach there.
Mike Klinzing: [00:16:57] So let’s go before we jump into the Kent stuff, [00:17:00] let’s go backwards and just kind of talk through just maybe the differences in each of the levels, as you remember, as you were going up through the ranks, because clearly you kind of had. A stepping stone. It was a ladder as you went up there. I started out with, started out in high school.
I started out with junior high and then to high school and then to division three. And then you ended up at division one. So miss, maybe talk just a little bit about the differences from when you went from high school to college for the first time. And then maybe when you went from an assistant to a head coach.
And then when you went from the transition from being a head coach at the division three level to an assistant at the division one, maybe just talk a little bit about each of those transitions.
Dave Grube: [00:17:42] Sure. Well, my starting out coaching junior high, I think every coach should have to start out coaching junior high because those kids are old enough.
They’re developing strength and agility and athleticism them. they can, they can learn the fundamentals. And I think if you can teach junior [00:18:00] high kids who have no bad habits, most of them, at least in that time they’ve been, I mean, everything that you learn, you’re teaching them, you know, whether it be shooting.
Foot work, all the fundamentals. So that made the transition to high school easier. And like I said, a lot of my players at Edison junior high in Marion, that became when I started coaching at the high school level. A lot of those guys I had in the junior high level were now the high school players. And, Marion really had a good program.
My high school coach, Dan Baker was an excellent coach. In fact, He had a player name of El Raleigh that played at Ohio state, a date merchant played at Ohio state. And when I, when I was coach Baker’s assistant Marion, after the games, there would be division one coaches there to recruit the merchant and I would be standing outside the door.
[00:19:00] Locker room door, anxious to meet these guys. And all of them would say, or, or your, your team is so well coached. Meaning coach Baker’s team said, ha I was your coach. Get players to pass like that move like that. And that was, that was coach Baker because Marion was in a Buckeye conference and I’m not even sure Mike and Jason, if the Buckeye conference exists today, But we were going against players.
Findlay was in the conference and Finley had a fire with the name of Dave Sorenson, who probably you guys don’t know, but he came, he became an all American at Ohio state. Scott May played Indiana. He played for Sandusky, Tom dinger, the all American at Wooster. He played for Mansfield senior, Lorain Admiral King had James bubble Harrison played it at, Indiana.
They had Tom put scales, Dave bell at the plate at camp. So, I mean, we were gone against [00:20:00] and Elyria had, they came out on the four, six, nine, six, eight, six, seven Jay younger wood player by the name of monitors and all though played division one or, or college basketball. So. Coach Baker, lots of times our tallest player would be six, three or six, four.
So we really had to do a good job teaching fundamentals and everything was man to man defense. And what became known as freelance offense, which later became known as motion, offense, and coach Baker was just an excellent coach to learn from. And he was my high school coach and fortunate enough that he hired me later Marion.
So, so, so, you know, from there I had a good, a good. Background in basketball, going to Worcester with coach Van Wie and Wooster was loaded. I think Mike, a lot of the players, the play three or four years as the division three level [00:21:00] could play the vision one basketball, because you know, they’re going through the strength program and all the practices and everything.
In fact time dinger. The all American guard officer that was a senior, my first year as an assistant at Worcester, he was re he was offered a scholarship. I can’t be played more South hall star game at an outstanding game. And he was offered a scholarship again, but opted to keep his commitment to go to Worcester.
So, you know, the players at division three, they’re not as big. Not as athletic, but skill-wise, they’re just as good. And the passion for the game is at an all time high. And that’s the thing, you know, they’re paying because of division three, you don’t have, you don’t have scholarships. Everything is based on financial life.
So those guys are working in the summer. Their parents are forking out [00:22:00] for room, board, tuition and all that. So they can go to a smaller school and play basketball. So, you know, they love the game while the vision one, you know, I found that maybe, maybe you’re going to have some players that they’re playing, just because they’re getting their education paid for they’re on a full scholarship.
Most of the guys, Mike, and you weren’t one of them, you loved the game, you worked your tail off and most guys do, but you would come across some guys that maybe didn’t love the game as much at the division one level, but they were playing because they were on scholarship, but was paying for their education.
And that, that was a big difference.
Mike Klinzing: [00:22:43] That’s honestly been a theme that has run through a lot of our interviews, coach with coaches at all different levels. It’s just talking about how underrated the skill level of players is at the division three level. And we’ve had a number of division three [00:23:00] coaches on over the course of the time that we’ve been doing the podcast.
And a lot of them have said to us, you know, we’ll sit down with kids that we’re recruiting and they’ll kind of look at us sideways. And they don’t really, because everybody obviously is focused on having an opportunity to play division one. And so in a lot of cases, People are looking down at a division three school and the division three coaches have said to us, well, when we sit with a recruit, a lot of times we’ll ask them, well, have you ever even seen a division three game?
And like 75% of the time, the answer from that player and their parents is no, they haven’t even seen the division three games. They didn’t really have no idea what the level of play is and how good the players are. And to your point, I think that. When you think about the difference between the division three level division, one level in so many cases, it’s the athleticism and the size is what is the separator.
It’s not necessarily the skill level. It really is just if you have a guy who’s six, eight to 25 [00:24:00] versus another guy who’s. Six three, one 85. It’s just going to be a huge difference that they both play the same position. The six three kids, just not going to get the same opportunity at the division. One level that the six eight kid is going to get.
I think that that speaks to a lot. I, I relate completely to that story that you just told. And I know I’ve told this story from my perspective, a couple of times on the podcast about my recruitment and. I don’t know how much of this you’ll remember or not remember, but what I, what I, my recollection of it is that back in sort of the fall of my senior year, that I know it was you and it was coaching down on, I can’t remember which of you or how the conversation came to pass, but I was invited down to come for an official visit.
I think it was in the fall of my senior year. And I said, ah, you know, I don’t think I’m going to take an official visit because. I only get five of these things and, you know, North Carolina’s going to be calling and Duke’s going to be calling and Ohio state’s will be calling and I don’t want to waste one of these [00:25:00] visits going to Kent with, but I’ll come down and I’ll come down to camp.
So I came down with my mom. I remember meeting with coach McDonald. I remember you being an integral part of that, and I’ll sit down and talking to you as well. And then my mom and I go into Wendy’s on campus, eating lunch by ourselves that we paid for. And I just think back to that time. And it’s always funny to me that I just didn’t have an, I had no idea.
Obviously, at that point, there was no chance whatsoever that any of those schools were going to be calling me. But because there wasn’t that much information out there. And my high school coach, mr. Casey had never really had somebody recruited at that level. So he couldn’t really necessarily guide me and my parents.
I was the oldest kid, so they had never had that experience. And I really had no idea. And so you go into that and you’re like, well, that was really, that was really a mistake. And then it felt like, okay, you guys kind of backed off of me throughout the year. And then I know coach came and saw me one time.
I think my last game, maybe as a senior at home. [00:26:00] And, You know, and then I was the last, I was the last recruit in a group of seven and that’s just, and it just so happened that I ended up in the right place. But I think that going back to this division one versus division three discussion, certainly the people that were the most interested in me throughout the entire recruiting process were division three schools.
I mean, Coach Moore, who we had on who was a friend of yours. I always remember him being, he came to a bunch of my games and there were a lot of division three schools that I’m sure. Would have been happy to get me. And I was at the time, one of those kids who said, I want to play division one. And I often have Jason me say this a few times.
I looked at guys that were in my class that I played with in the summertime and that I had played against a lot. And I would see all this guys sign in here. And this guy signed in there. And in my mind, I kept telling myself I’m as good or better than those guys. How come they’re getting a chance to go and play at these schools.
And here I’m just kind of sitting around waiting. And so. When the offer came in from [00:27:00] Kent, for me, it was a, no, it was a no brainer to take it and go and test myself and see if I could do it. And obviously for me, it worked out really, really well, but it’s just, it’s funny how just some small, different changes in the way, you know, somebody else doesn’t accept the scholarship.
There’s an extra scholarship available. I happen to be in the right place, the right time. And all of a sudden I’m at a, at a place where it ends up being a great fit for. The kind of player that I was, and I ended up getting a chance to have a really nice career. And I think he could have gone a lot differently in a lot of ways.
I think I could’ve gone to a lot of division one schools and maybe got buried and not gotten a chance to play, or I could have gone to division three and maybe you had a really, really great career and then a then a star for four years, who knows. But it’s just interesting how things, you know, how things can turn out when just with a small difference in what happens in terms of being offered scholarship or not being offered a scholarship.
Dave Grube: [00:27:55] That’s you’re absolutely right Mike and I’ll w when I was at [00:28:00] Capitol, I always, we wanted to play division one schools. And when I was at Capitol one year, we played Kent, Ohio U and bowling green, and we gave all of them a game. In fact, we lost on a last second shot. And you know, now to be honest, sometimes those, those guys take the division three schools, little lightly.
They probably don’t play their best, but we were, we were in the game and I remember a kid of Robert kitchen from Detroit that played for Ken put in a half court shot to beat us when I was at Capitol. And we Miami, we played Miami when they had Rob Harper. And we gave him a game. We were in it down the stretch, and I think we ended up losing by eight or nine, something like that.
So, you know, we’re talking about the vision three players versus some pretty good division one players, another story. Were you, you [00:29:00] had left or you were not at camp when Jay Peters. You remember? Jay
Mike Klinzing: [00:29:04] Jay was before me. So we just had, we just had Jay on the podcast. I don’t know if you got a chance to check that out, but yeah, we had Jay on about, I don’t know, maybe like three, four weeks ago.
And it’s funny because. Jay then spent a bunch of time playing with our summer team that we played in, like the Cleveland Pro-Am and the whatever used to be called the sports festival. This was mostly after, I think after I had graduated, maybe it was at some point during, you know, in between, in the summer.
I can’t, I can’t remember what the timeframe was, but Jay played a lot on our team. And as we were, at some point I was cleaning stuff up and I went through and I found this old team photo. Of our summer league pro auntie. And so we had some guys from Cleveland state and Jay playing with us on that team and Scott Roth, who I’m sure you remember.
Scott played with us on our team. And so I found this Motley crew of us all after winning the [00:30:00] Pro-Am down at Cleveland state. And, you know, we’re all sweaty and we’re holding the trophy. It was Jay Jay’s given another kid on our team, bunny years in the photo side, I took a photo of that and send it over to him.
He got a kick out of it. So yeah, J J and I actually kind of became pretty good friends right after that. And then. Again, as time goes on, you just don’t talk as much as you had previously, but yeah, Jay was a man. He was, he was fantastic.
Dave Grube: [00:30:24] Really a good player where, you know, Mike, He played for his dad at Medina.
No. I’m sorry. He did not play for his dad, but his dad was an outstanding coach and Oh, I forget the name of the high school coach at Medina. I should know because we just saw off guard or was his name I’ll darn. Her son then played at Purdue and now he coaches a Wisconsin green Bay, but Jay was signed at Kent by Jim McDonald.
[00:31:00] So Jay started out at Kent. Now, Mike, what let’s think back here at coach McDonald’s preseason conditioning program, the mile run and all the jumps and agility and all that. And the power.
Jason Sunkle: [00:31:16] I’ve heard all about this coach. I’ve heard all about this conditioning regiment
Dave Grube: [00:31:27] and then you’d play pickup games with Jay had a tough time making the mile run, but. Anyways, he, he left camp before he even played as a freshman. And I think the preseason conditioning program and the mile run duty men because J J could never make the mile run time. You need to have to get up in the morning and run and all that.
So Jay transfers to Grove city. All right. I’m in my last year capital, Jay’s a player growth city. We played Grove city in the Kenyan [00:32:00] holiday tournament. And we’d be in a pretty good, we were really worried about Jay, but we did a pretty good job defensively on Jay. So this was before Christmas. So I’m in my office.
I think it was right after Christmas. Suppliers had not come back from the short Christmas break yet. I get a call from Jay Peters. He says, coach, I really liked the way your team plays. I want to transfer to capital. I said, Jay, you want to transfer to capital? I said, you started out at camp. You’re a growth city division three school, and you want to transfer to another division three school.
I said, I don’t know what I can do for your financial aid wise. He said, I really want to play. So we set up a visit. Jake comes, we talk a little bit. I take him over to the admissions office. He’s meeting with a counselor over there by the name of Bruce Green. I said, Bruce, I’m gone back to my office. Call me when you’re done with Jay.
[00:33:00] Normally it takes about half hour, 45 minutes. Bruce Green calls me about 10, 10 minutes after I took Jay over. He said coach group. I’ll. Do you know that he went to the Kent state Cleveland state game last night. Met with the head coach, Jim McDonald’s and Jim McDonald’s had a scholarship and said, Jay, this is your scholarship.
You’ll come back again. I said, sending back over here. So chase Jake comes back over. I said, Jay, what are you doing? I said, you have a chance to go back to Kent on a full scholarship. I don’t know if I can give you anything. Your parents are going to have to file a financial aid form and everything coach.
I really want to come to capital. So we met about a half hour more. I send monies where I said, you think it over, talk it off of your parents. Give me a call. When you decide he calls me the next day coach and going to go back to camp. Good decision.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:56] It’s funny because when he told that story, he said [00:34:00] that when he left, when he left camp, that first time he got in the car and he said, as he was driving back to Medina, he was already in his head thinking, this is the worst decision that I’ve ever made.
And it was interesting to hear him tell that story, because obviously I knew, I knew the general parameters of the story that he had been at Kent and then left on Negro city and then come back. But I had never really talked to him in depth about sort of the why. And he talked a lot about. Going through the whole conditioning program and all that.
And then he’s like how dumb was I went through all that hard part and then was going to get to the season where you actually play. And I missed out on all that and just had to go through the whole pre season routine. And so you just said, yeah, that was a. The worst decision of his life. And he knew it almost immediately when he ] went but he got back and he obviously had a good career at Grove city and then had an outstanding one year that he was able to play at Kent.
Then he went on, played a couple of years with athletes in action. They got to travel the world, play some more basketball. So [00:35:00] he, he, I think it all turned out okay for him the way that, you know, maybe it was meant to be that that’s where they were, how it should have worked out for him, but he certainly had.
The ability to play inside and out and would have I’m sure had he stayed and been at Kent for four years would have had an outstanding four year career instead of just an outstanding one year career. Cause he was, he was a bear. He was kind of a, more of a modern player. When you think about his ability to play inside and out, you know, you just had the ability to step out on a foreign shoot and then he could also go down and post up and score on guys.
I really loved, I loved playing with them when we played together in the summertime, he was just a guy that you could count on and get buckets for your team.
Dave Grube: [00:35:37] You nailed his game, Mike, you, I mean, you, you nailed it. I mean he, and, and if you look and again, in fact, and I know you work the, the girls’ city Elmhurst NCAA tournament game when Jay’s son was playing and I’ve talked to Jay every time I see Jay, he [00:36:00] talks about that mile run
really in his head. He said, I could have tried that for a year and never made that time. They just kept getting worn down and worn down. But you know, running up and down the floor was not Jay’s game before. Oh boy. What a, what a player. In fact, we played, that, that year, the J played at camp. In fact, it really wasn’t a year.
It was just a half a year. because they had, there was a mix up on how much time he had left, how much eligibility he had left. So. his first game, I know we played, we were halfway through the year and this is why I then joined coach Donald less of the system. So I ended up getting to coach Jay as it was anyways.
After that year, I went to from capital to get with coach McDonald as his assistant and Jay van just became eligible at mid year. And the first game he played was against ball state. He made an impact on that [00:37:00] game. But then in the tournament, in the Mac tournament, we’re playing central Michigan and the championship game.
And Jay has a ball driving for, What would be the willing basket and he, he traveled his converse shoes did not hold up and he split travel. And so we talk about converse shoes all the time with Jay, but no, a great, great player and, and really had a good coaching career too. And he really did just retire this year, but what a great career.
Mike Klinzing: [00:37:32] Absolutely. It was really nice for me to reconnect with him there. Cause like I said, we had kind of. You know, spent that time playing back in the day. And then as you know, once you get busy and you have a family and you’re moving around and doing things and. It just becomes more and more difficult to stay in touch with people.
And so it was really nice to reconnect with him and not only on a podcasting level, but just on a personal level to be able to reconnect and kind of reminisce and go back through some of the things that we experienced together [00:38:00] back in our time. And let’s, here’s how I want to talk about our years together at Kent.
And then tell me if this makes sense to you. What I, what I think we should do is I think we should each trade out, maybe a story that we remember and then. Get the other person’s perspective. If they, if they remember the story. So I’ve got a couple of good ones that I want to throw out there and just see what your recollection or even if you do some of them, you may not even re even remember, but, just
throw out a story or two from our time together and then let the other person kind of,
Jason Sunkle: I’m going to be really helpful at this part of the conversation.I was four years old.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:42] Jason probably won’t be as much. Jason probably won’t be a much value. So I’m just going to enjoy listening guys. Do you want, do you want to start? You want to start or you want me to start?
Dave Grube: [00:38:52] One thing. I remember Mike, one thing I remember, and you really, and we’ve talked about this [00:39:00] before, you were really the part of the really good recruiting class.
I mean, we’re talking Tony banks, right? Jerome Sims.
Mike Klinzing: [00:39:09] Yes.
Dave Grube: [00:39:10] Harold Walton, Todd Rowe. I mean, there were some really, you came in, in a, in a real good class and probably one of the more talented players in your class was Banks.
Mike Klinzing: [00:39:27] Absolutely.
Dave Grube: [00:39:28] And you, you remember Tony’s defensive habits didn’t even call them habits.
They weren’t very good. And coach McDonald. You know, he would start off a lot of practices with defensive slides and Tony just, I mean, Oh, and coach McDonald would say, get down there and get him in a stance and get him moving his feet. There was no way Tony was going to get in the stance of movie’s feet.
And that was [00:40:00] just trying to get him to concentrate, getting him in a stance. That was not told he’s game, a talented player, but he was not going to play defense.
Mike Klinzing: [00:40:11] I remember Tony always kind of having like a hunched back rather than knees. And I remember the coaching staff collectively, always being frustrated with Tony, getting a stance and he would get in a stance, which was like the Tony bank’s stance.
And. I think you could just, I can still almost visualize either you or coach Smith. And we were freshmen kind of going and trying to like push his lower back in and trying to get them to have a straight back and just like, I can still picture what his stance look like for sure. And, yeah, Tony was just, you know, obviously I think our, our last two years he was our ladies for when I was a junior and senior.
And just as a, you know, a super talented guy, really athletic and, you know, definitely over the course of time. I think I would say I’ve clashed as [00:41:00] maybe too strong of a word, but definitely had a. A difference of opinion, I’d say with the coaching staff at certain points.
Dave Grube: [00:41:05] No doubt. No doubt about it, Mike.
No, no doubt about it. You’re right. It was, it was, yeah, it was a challenge. There’s no doubt about it. And I, and I are speaking of defensive slides. I remember keeping you after practice a couple of times and getting you in the lane for lane slides and giving you the reach step and everything, and you, you, you got things done.
I mean, you, you had no problems doing it. And it was just a matter of giving you your reps and things like that. And, you know, but no, that’s, that’s my, that’s my story. I’m sure. As a player. I’m sure as a player, you have some stories that I haven’t heard that
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:48] I have some good. I have some good ones that I don’t know.
Again, I don’t know how much, how much of these you’ll remember. I have one that I know you let’s start with. The one that I know you won’t remember probably, but it’s one that I found to [00:42:00] be funny in the moment. I think it’s probably still pretty funny. We went down to a tournament at Tennessee Chattanooga.
And we flew in there and I think if I’m not mistaken, we got, went from the airport, got on the bus and went right over to their arena, which was beautiful. the roundhouse, I don’t know if you remember their arena, that, that place was probably one of the nicest places. I think we have we ever played while I was there at Kent.
And I remember we were, we were going through and we were doing our stretching. We were doing our UCLAs and. Guys, we’re kind of looking around and talking amongst each other, that the floor was kind of slippery. And I remember, you know, you’re rubbing the bottom of our shoes and we’re just, it just kind of became, we were just kind of talking about it.
This is probably all in the first, maybe five or 10 minutes of practice. And I remember coaching Donald as all this little conversation was going along. He turned to you and he said, coach, it’s the floor always like this. And I [00:43:00] just remember this, look on your face. Looking back at him like coach, I’ve never been here either.
So I don’t know really what the floor is like. I just remember almost feeling bad for you in the moment that like, I don’t know how coach group is supposed to answer that question because he’s never been here just like any of us who’ve never been here. So we don’t know what the floor is normally like.
And we certainly don’t know if it’s different from how it usually is. I have just got a kick out of, out of that, those kinds of moments where. Coaches we had, Matt McCall, who is the coach at UMass, who worked with Billy Donovan. And he told a story about how one time during a game that Billy Donovan was up coaching in the middle of the game.
And all of a sudden turned around and started yelling that he wanted a paperclip. And the coaching staff was all kind of looking around at like, why does this guy want a paperclip? But yet everybody’s kind of falling all over themselves to help their boss. To get this paperclip for who knows [00:44:00] what reason.
And I remember that being a moment, that situation that uses a Tennessee Chattanooga, where, you know, you got asked this question, I don’t know how you would even possibly begin to answer that question.
Dave Grube: [00:44:11] Well, coaching coach McDonald could do that to you. He could. I remember, you know, another question he asked me, we played Cleveland state.
Your senior year up. We love you. Remember that game.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:29] I do.
Dave Grube: [00:44:29] Yup. And it was Harold Walton’s first game back from his leg.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:37] He had a blood already had the blood clot in his calf
Dave Grube: [00:44:40] he had a terrible shooting game.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:44] I broke my nose in that game.
Dave Grube: [00:44:48] No, I forget. I forgot that. Did you really?
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:51] I ran into John Wilson’s elbow through a screen.
And so that was in the first half and my nose was all bloody [00:45:00] when it had half time and the doctor looked at it and said, I don’t think it’s broken.
Dave Grube: [00:45:03] Now. That makes sense, Mike
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:04]. What’s that what makes sense? I’m just messing with you. My nose is crooked, but I had it fixed that time. That’s how here?
Dave Grube: [00:45:14] I do remember that now that you mentioned it,
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:17] I had to wear the mask.Do you remember me wearing the mask? I had to wear the mask.
Dave Grube: [00:45:22] You were the original abroad and
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:23] Kyrie with the black Massey mic or was it wasn’t black? It was white and it was, it was homemade. It was a piece of blank. Perforated plastic that, Terry Slatter had to take and mold onto my mold onto my face, in order to get it to.
You know, it’s a match, it’s a match. So heated it up and then molded it to the shape.
Dave Grube: [00:45:43] Cause you could use it right now.
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:45] I wish I had it. I don’t have it anymore. I wish I did just as, just as a memento, but sorry, coach. I didn’t mean to interrupt your story, but
Dave Grube: [00:45:54] we lose to Cleveland state. You have a broken nose.
Harold Walton has a terrible shooting game. [00:46:00] Okay. He just can’t get anything. So on the way back coach with battle says. Why do you think Carol didn’t shoot the ball? Well, and I said, you know, I didn’t have an answer right there as coach. I don’t know. He says, well, you better find out you’re the one that’s down there with him all over.
I didn’t want to say, well, mostly first came back, you know, J and J Smith. And I were talking the other day, how coach the dowel could really put pressure on assistance, which when you become a head coach, you do the same thing, right? No doubt about it, but you know, you’re, you’re, you’re not. Getting off the beaten path here, but a couple things, you know, growing up, I don’t know if you had someone that was an idol to you that you really looked up to and copied and emulate, but I had a guy by the name of Robin Freeman and all [00:47:00] American at Ohio state have either you or Jason heard of Robin Freeman?
Mike Klinzing: [00:47:04] I have not heard of Robin Freeman.
Dave Grube: [00:47:06] Would you Googling when we get off? He, he was, he had one of the first jump shots and I would look forward every November getting the basketball magazines, like street and Smith and all those when they come out. And I got one when I was a seventh grader that had a picture because it was an all American at Ohio state.
You had a picture of Robin Freeman shooting, a jump shot. And I had that picture up my bedroom wall and I copied his job shot the best I could. I mean, he was a guy I idolized doesn’t know who he is. He played for the st. Louis Hawks.
Mike Klinzing: [00:47:44] I do not know Robin Freeman. I honestly have never heard that name that makes me, makes me feel bad.
Dave Grube: [00:47:52] totally Wikipedia thenOhio state. He was a two time, all American at Ohio state, one of their first all Americans. So, and ears later. You know, this, this was when I analyzed him. It was like 1957, 1958, maybe even 1956. My first star played basketball. So now it’s in the 1980s. I’m the head coach at Capital it’s in the summer.
hardly anybody’s on campus. I’d go across to the campus center to get something to eat. I’m coming back and there’s a guy in a suit. with the briefcase walking out of the gym and he says, could you tell me where the law, the law bill law school building is Capitol, had a, had a law school on campus at that time.
And I said, yeah, it’s right over there. I said, by the way, I’m Dave Ruben, the basketball coach here at capital. He said, well, my name’s Robin Freeman. You said I’m a lawyer from Springfield. I’m supposed to lecture a class on campus [00:49:00] today and it was Robin Freeman.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:01] Wow. That’s awesome. Do you know why he never played in the NBA, Dave?
Dave Grube: [00:49:05] Well, he was only five 11. I know he was only five 11 and he was kind of a, I really don’t. I know he got, he severed the tips of, to his fingers while chopping wood. Yes. Yes. And a lot of people, Jason thought that he did that on purpose. cause he was so high, strung and put so much pressure on himself and would get so down on himself.
But yeah, the story was that he did at chopping wood. So maybe that’s why he didn’t play in the pros. For sure.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:37] That’s funny. That is funny.
Dave Grube: [00:49:40] I got another story, Jason, another story. Okay.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:43] We’re ready.
Dave Grube: [00:49:44] So at Capital I have a player. If there is such a thing as the division three block on, I had one, his name was Ricky loud.
Ricky was only five nine. He played high school ball at [00:50:00] Bishop Hartley. And he didn’t play for us, but he was a good teammate. He was a member of some of the NCAA tournament teams. I have a capitalist. Ricky, Ricky was quick, you know, he, he’s the type of guy you joke that could turn off the switch to is on his bedroom wall, the in bed, before the lights went out, he was just quick, really quick.
So years later, I’m the head coach at camp. Okay. I get a call from rookie coach. My brother in law is living with us this summer here in Columbus. He’s a swimmer, but I think he I’m working with him on his basketball. I think he’s someone you should recruit. He’s pretty tall. It’s about six, 10. He said he’s kind of rough.
He’s got some rough edges. I’m going to send him to the Ohio state camp. But I think he’s someone he, you should recruit. he’s going to be with me a couple more weeks and he’s going back home. I said, okay, [00:51:00] Ricky, you give me the number and everything. He said, why his name’s Tim Duncan? And I said, okay. I said, we’re not allowed to make calls to recruits until July 1st, but I’ll, I’ll I’ll call Tim.
He lives in, Ricky, Tony lives, the st. Croix in the Virgin islands, other had just passed away and all that. So I make all the arrangements. At midnight the first time, I think it was July 1st, I could have the date wrong, but it was the first day at midnight, when you’re allowed to make recruiting phone calls, I called Tim Duncan.
He talks to me. He is so excited to hear from Ken. I said, damn, I need to see your plane. And I’m going to try and get that done. I said, we couldn’t come down. Cause it was not evaluation period. I couldn’t come down and watch it. They’ll have state camp, but we’re going to try and get some video on him.
Ricky, Ricky a really recommend you highly your, your brother in law and all that. I said, I’m going to [00:52:00] call you once a week. Ricky,
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:04] that’s crazy.
Dave Grube: [00:52:07] The following week I go to calling, he doesn’t give me the time of day by then. He’s got the hands up, gone to wake forest. As you know, it was all American and had a break, but I was the first phone call.
The Tim Duncan.
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:23] That’s incredible. Well, it’s also that, that, Russell Westbrook was his, his choice before UCLA. He was being recruited by Kent, correct?
Dave Grube: [00:52:34] I think so. I did hear that. I’m
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:37] pretty sure that before, before UCLA got involved, Kent was one of only a couple of schools. I think they were recruiting him and that there was a decent chance that he was going to go to Kent.
The reason [00:52:48] Russell Westbrook had to come so he could live up to the legacy. That was Mike Klinzing. Here you go. That’s it. He couldn’t match the athleticism. That’s what it was. [00:53:00] That was his problem. He couldn’t, he couldn’t match the athleticism that I was able to bring to the table. all right, so I got another, I got another story for you.
It seems like all my stories are bad, but that’s okay. They’re all.You never remember the good ones. You always remember the bad ones. They’re not bad. They’re not bad. They’re more, they’re more funny, especially in the moment. So there was a time where, and I can’t remember the circumstance. I want to say. I think it was after one of the Saturday morning practices followed by the blue gold scrimmage and coach got mad.
Kick this out and send us up to the locker room. And then when he came up to the locker room, he took Eric Glenn stool and threw Eric stool and broke it. And then the next day before practice, when we were meeting in the locker room and of course all the players are in there before any coaches come in.
And the only thing left [00:54:00] of Eric’s stool is just the top round part with his name and number on the stool. And. Eric, you know, we’re all kind of talking about it and, you know, Hey, Eric doesn’t have a stool and obviously we’re all sitting on our stools normally. So there was this big internal debate amongst the team of what should Eric do, because he doesn’t have a stool.
What’s going to get him and us in the least amount of trouble. When coach comes in. And Eric doesn’t have the stool to sit on. Should he stand? Should he, what, what should we be doing? And so he made the decision to sit down, like set the round circle top of the stool on the ground, and then sit on the stool.
And I can just remember all of us sitting in our, sitting on our stools, waiting for coach McDonald to come in and then just trying to figure out what was the reaction. Going to be when he came in and saw Eric sitting on the [00:55:00] floor on this stool, was he going to be mad or was he going to be stoic? Was he going to think it was funny?
What was going to, what was going to happen? And he came in and I remember it was. It was a, it was a light, it was a light moment in that he came in and looked at Eric and just kind of started laughing. And then everybody started laughing and it was one of, it was a memory that was kind of a, again, I say I started out by saying bad, so it’s not a bad memory.
It’s actually a good memory because it was one of those times where you kind of saw everybody kind of come together and be able to laugh and joke. And I still remember vividly just the tension in the air in those moments before coach walked in. What is he going to think here when Eric is sitting on the stool and when I’ve talked to Rick Blevins the other day, we were, we were talking about that story and Rick’s like, he goes, I think Eric might’ve been the only person who could have gotten away with that at that point, that coach would’ve thought it was funny.
He was like, what about anybody else? I think coach would have been mad.
Dave Grube: [00:55:57] That is funny. I, I vaguely [00:56:00] remember that, like I do, but you’re right there. Eric could get away with a little bit, no doubt about,
Mike Klinzing: [00:56:06] I know they’re saying that I remember coach always saying was, you know, we obviously we had to weigh in after practice and I remember one time that Eric had a bad practice or something, something Eric did that upset coach and coach came up to Eric or in the locker room, or maybe it was on the practice floor.
And he just said, Eric, You’re killing me with that two 11 man, the two with the 211 pounds. You’re killing me with that too. I love it. And I don’t know. I don’t know why. I don’t remember what he wanted Eric to weigh or not weigh it, but just, it was one of those things that you’re like, I don’t think a few ways two Oh nine are always two 11.
It’s really going to make that much of a difference. But it’s one of those sayings that kind of sticks with you again, as a player. There’s things that stick in your mind that you’re just, you know, I can’t, I can’t, it was funny to hear him say, ah, you’re killing me with that two 11.
Dave Grube: [00:56:53] Well, you know, coach coach really loved John Wooden and had a lot of John wooden [00:57:00] sayings, I think up in the locker room.
And I remember one, the many players are not complete players because the only time they play hard is when they have the ball or when their man has the ball.
Mike Klinzing: [00:57:22] Yeah, it’s funny. I think about, there was a lot of, there was a lot of John Wooden things that coach would say, and the coach would do. And that kind of, you know, you think about the philosophy or even the warmups that we did that we called UCLAs and sometimes I still use some of those same things with teams that I’ve coached with my own kids.
I still call them. UCLAs it’s amazing that. Whatever. It’s been 30 years after the fact that was still, you’re still using some of those things. And I’ve said it numerous times that I ended up, I think, in the right place with a coach who appreciated the type of player that I was, what I was able to bring to the table.
We were talking about, you know, have me stay after or do lane slides or things on the [00:58:00] defensive end of the, of the floor. And I’ve relayed this story on the podcast a couple of times. And, you know, I think back to when I was a high school player and certainly. Not that I didn’t play defense, but I wasn’t defense wasn’t necessarily what I would have been known for as a high school player.
And then I got to Kent and my freshman year I played sparingly, I would say four or five, six minutes a game maybe. And then the following year started looking around at, well, what is this lineup going to look like and what is going to be needed in order for me to be able to play. And I sort of transformed myself into a defensive player, not by any.
You know, necessarily improvement in scale. It was just, I think a mindset shift of if I want to get on the floor, I’ve got to be able to play defense because this particular group of players isn’t going to really need me. To be a score. And so I kind of transformed and figured out how I could fit the role that was going to enable me to get on the floor.
And I think I always try to tell players that [00:59:00] story to help them to understand that sometimes the role that you want. Sure. Everybody wants to be a 20 point of game score and put up as many shots as you want, but sometimes it’s just fun to play and. Maybe I’m only going to get six shots a game, or I’m only going to average eight points a game, but if I can be out there playing 35 minutes a game, because I can defend somebody, I think that’s a, there’s a lesson out there for players at all levels is that you can, you can just shift your mindset and fill the role that your coach is asking you to fill.
And I think that what I think about my time at Ken and I think about playing for coach McDonald. Those are the things that really stand out to me, it’s just the opportunity that I was given and then taking advantage of it and then being able to have a really good career and being able to play a lot of minutes and start a lot of games and go to a lot of great places to play with a lot of great guys.
It just, I just, I’m so thankful that the opportunity, like we talked about right off the beginning, you know, there was a lot of things that had to go right. Almost accidentally for [01:00:00] me to end up at camp. And for whatever reason, I ended up, I think, in the right place.
Dave Grube: [01:00:05] No, no doubt about it. Mike, in, in, in, in you did, I mean, you, you accepted your role and improve as a player, which brings us to today.
Today’s players, many of them, because. A lot of them in your situation would have said, I’m outta here. Right? I know if I go somewhere else, coach gonna see how good I am and I’m going to play. And I’ll probably average 30 points a game, and I’m going to have a better role. I’m going to be happier. I’m out of here.
That’s why you have almost over 700 players today, transferring at the division one level, transferring if the NCAA and maybe I think it was today, they were going to decide makes it. You can transfer one time and be eligible immediately. I mean, that’s just making things so easy for players when things get tough.
I’m outta here.
Mike Klinzing: [01:00:56] Is that, is that only happening though, because of what’s going on [01:01:00] right now? Is that, ] or is, is that going to be like a standard thing? Because from what I’ve been reading mixed messages on that, Dave, do you know?
Dave Grube: [01:01:06] Or I have to, I, I don’t know the final decision or going to. But I’m sure it sure is being talked about in, and even then something closely related is the grad transfer where you can get your degree.
And if you have another year of eligibility left, you can transfer and play. And that really hurts. The mid-majors like the mid American schools. And I know Kent lost a big player a year or so ago. His name escapes me, but the kid was the starter form. He’s playing. He gets his degree. He goes to Illinois where he barely plays it all.
But, but you know, they, they think bigger is better and it’s not. So there are a lot of, a lot of rules, but if they, if this does go through and is permanent, you can [01:02:00] transfer one time and be eligible immediately. I mean, that’s really going to be bad.
Mike Klinzing: [01:02:05] That’s going to be, that’s going to be really difficult.
The mid major schools, because then it’s almost like they become a farm system for these bigger universities where, you know, I come in, I have some success if I do have some success in my first year or two. Now I’m almost a proven commodity on the college level. And so now it’s easier for a bigger school to take a chance and say, wow, this kid’s already produced at a college level.
We think he can now produce at a higher level. And it clearly makes the kid think that, that they can go ahead and leave. And then from a minute mid-major standpoint, you’re losing it. You’re developing those kids for a year or two, and then they’re out the door and you’re losing them and you’re having to start over.
And that’s just, that’s a really, really difficult position to put mid-major division one coaches in and mid major division one programs in where I just think that you’re going to [01:03:00] open those flood Gates. And that’s a rule that I think I could see two, three, four years down the road. They start reevaluating that.
And, but again, the bottom line for that probably is, is that the power in college is with the power five conferences. And that rule is not, that is not going to affect them too dramatically, except for the positive that they don’t have to. You know, if I can get a scholarship from a kid, you have a kid who averages 16 or 17 points, a game as a freshman at Kent.
And I can give that kid a scholarship versus. Maybe an unproven high school player who I don’t know what they’re going to be. And it’s my fourth scholarship and it’s not a blue ribbon, top 50 kid. Why wouldn’t I give it to somebody who’s already proved themselves? At the college level, as opposed to a freshman, I don’t know what this kid is.
I don’t know what their work ethic is going to be. Like. I mean, obviously you can try to project it and figure it out. That’s what recruiting is all about. But if you can find somebody who’s already proven it at the college level, to me, it would seem like those players would be far [01:04:00] more valuable than a high school recruit.
Unless you’re talking about getting a top 50 or top 100 talent here.
Dave Grube: [01:04:07] Well, it’s just not getting it. And I really think. You know, the, the, the players leaving early. I really think John Belein left Michigan because of being frustrated with players, leaving early and having to replace those players every year.
You know, you have two or three guys leaving early that you’re counting on. You just got to go right back and recruit. And I mean, it’s just. It’s getting tougher. It’s it’s a hit. It really is not real well, not real. Well, I think he’d be back in Michigan in a, in a heartbeat if he was given the opportunity, didn’t work out real well.
Thank you. Think of what happened at Michigan this year. you know, they lose [01:05:00] Xavier Simpson. He’s the senior for years. So he’s gone. Probably the guy that’s the got to play a lot that would fill his spot is a fire of the name of David to Julius. David enters the transfer portal and transfers to Cincinnati.
Okay. From Cincinnati or from Michigan to Cincinnati Purdue. Hmm, has a player name of no gel Eastern who started didn’t have a good year. I think he averaged about four points as no jump shot. That’s all right. Enter just a few days ago, the transfer portal, or is he transferred to Michigan? I mean, the decisions some of these guys are making.
Makes no sense at all. And [01:06:00] Matt painter, the Purdue coach is catching a lot of flack because he goes on the Dan dockage show and tells it like it is, and God bless him for doing it. He said, you know, Hey, you want to go to the NBA? How about making all conference first? You know, ha how about being good enough to make all conference?
And you think you’re going to be an NBA player about working hard? How about showing up every day for practice? Which, which obviously, Nope, no gel Eastern didn’t do. So I don’t know if he thinks transferring to Michigan is gonna all of a sudden open up the flood gate for him to have only five points a game, but some of the decisions, I mean, we’re just making things too easy for players that when things go wrong, there’s a way out.
they’re just not able to face adversity and, and develop a work ethic and [01:07:00] get through tough times when maybe they don’t feel the role is as they would want them to be, or they’re not averaging, or they don’t like the offense. The young man that left Ohio state this year as a freshman, their top recruit.
What was his name? Carton. I think. He leaves, he had some mental health issues, so he leaves the team. He’s going to come back. Meanwhile, I’m reading his quote from his high school coach and he’s a coach that he’s not being used the right way at Ohio state. So he ends up transferring to Marquette.
Mike Klinzing: [01:07:36] I mean, I just, yeah, it’s, it’s definitely a problem.
And I think the problem starts back. In grade school with the AAU and the travel system. And just the fact that I think no matter what you do with players at that young age and the way the system is set up, that if [01:08:00] something’s not working out at one place, I just leave and I go somewhere else and you see it at the AAU elementary school level.
You see it in middle school and then you get to high school. You continue to see it on the East side, but you see it, you see it. Even within high school programs, a number of players today that have played at multiple high schools through the course of their career, which is something that I’m sure you never thought about.
I never thought about it just wasn’t something that was even on my radar. And yet today, It’s normal to say, okay, I’m going to start here, but it didn’t work out. And then I’m going to go there. And you have parents who are way, way more involved in their kids’ careers. So to speak than they were 20 or 30 years ago, where.
No in the off season. I mean, my parents came to all my games that were high school games, college games. They were at most of them, but as far as watching me play in the summertime or trying to get involved in any of that stuff like that was nonexistent. And so [01:09:00] my parents didn’t have a bunch of money invested in me over the last.
Eight or nine years that they said, well, we’ve been paying for AAU and for you to travel and do all this stuff. Like I was just playing at the courts that were three minutes from my house all the time. And I had all the competition that I needed by my car and driving around the city and trying to find games.
And unfortunately, for kids today, those pickup games that you described early in your life, and that I grew up playing in those games just don’t exist anymore. The best players. You can sometimes find a pickup game, but it’s not a pickup game that if you’re a high level high school player or you’re a college player, you’re probably not looking to play in those pickup games at some outdoor court somewhere.
Whereas when I was a kid, when you were a kid, that’s where the players were, that’s where everybody played. So it’s just, it’s, it’s a different, it’s a different world today and it starts early and it just continues on up into the college ranks. I wanted to get your opinion on something that. I think it was a lot different at the division one level than it was when you were coaching at Kent.
And when I was playing there, and that is just [01:10:00] the amount of time now that the coaches can put in with the players in the off season in terms of workouts and having guys on campus. And, you know, I think about back when I was playing and our season would end and, you know, we do some workouts maybe in the weight room, but there really wasn’t any off season.
Workouts with the coaching staff and the players. And I think about now where basically those guys get, it’s almost 11 months out of the year that the coaching staff and the players are together. And I think it’s probably I could be wrong, but I almost have a sense that. It’s even more insular in that all the players and the coaches spend even more time together with as nice as the locker rooms are now.
And especially at big time schools where you guys can go out and hang out and there’s food and there’s Gatorade. There’s ping pong tables and there’s a barber’s chair and there’s all this stuff. It just seems like if you spend four years in that intense of an environment for 11 months out of [01:11:00] the year as an 18, 1920 year old kid, That to me seems like, especially at the level of intensity that we know division one programs require both from a coaching and a playing standpoint.
That seems like a lot to me, it seems like almost from a coaching standpoint and I get the benefits of having the coaches be able to work with the players and helping them improve and vice versa. The coach gets to work with their players and help their team improve, but it almost feels to me like that break.
Really makes a big difference in terms of coming back enthusiastic. And if you didn’t have that break, I just wonder as a player, a coach, what that would be like, what’s your feeling on just the amount of time that players and coaches at division one level today could spend together?
Dave Grube: [01:11:42] I think there’s too much, Mike.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. That started my last year at Kent. My last year Kent all of a sudden the NCAA. Okay. So that you can have. I think it was up to, I think you could only have two players [01:12:00] in the gym at one time for individual workouts up to two hours a week. I think that’s what it was. It’s been so long ago that that was 1996, but my last year you could start having individual workouts now.
I mean, basically teams are practicing all year long. And it’s, it’s just too much. And as we talked about the other day is the product okay. Are our players shooting the ball better? Playing better team offense and better team defense or the, the handling their feet better. No, they’re not. So I think it’s too much.
I just do. I think coach has got to get away from players and players have to get away from the coaches. I remember how excited you were when October 15th came around the first time that you could put your team [01:13:00] together on the floor. Once in the new practice uniforms. I mean, that was like Christmas Mick.
Mike Klinzing: [01:13:06] Absolutely. That October 15th day. Was magic. I mean, you’re like, okay, we can finally put aside the agility drills and the conditioning and the two mile run and the, and all that stuff. And we can really start to get after it and started putting the team together. And I know from a playing standpoint, that was always a great day.
And I’m sure from a coaching standpoint, it was too.
Dave Grube: [01:13:27] Exactly. And now, I mean, you’re practicing basically all year, all year long, and I think it’s just too much. Mmm. And, and lots of times, you know, the coaches aren’t on campus, they’re recruiting. so I, I agree with you. I think it’s too much. And I don’t know when this started and I don’t know if Rick Pitino started because I know he was good.
He was big on summer workouts. I think it’s too much right now. And I think a lot of coaches, if they were honest with totally agree.
[01:14:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:14:01] Yeah. It’s a tough situation. I mean, I think from a college coaching standpoint, that’s an issue. I think we’ve talked a lot of high school coaches too. And I think that the bar for the amount of time that you have to put in to be a successful coach at any level, Has increased dramatically simply because of the way that our basketball system has been set up in that what we talked about a second ago, those high level pickup games and the ability to.
Work on things in that type of environment doesn’t exist. So if you’re a coach and you’re not putting your players through workouts, then you’ve got to rely upon them to go out and put the time in and do it on their own and organize stuff. And we know that some players will do that, but not everyone will do that.
I think that that’s where we’ve talked to. The number of division three coaches. And obviously they’re still under that sort of old framework where they can’t have that contact basketball wise with their players in the off season. And we’ve talked to a lot of them and they’re like, yeah, we really like [01:15:00] it.
It refreshes our batteries. It also puts sort of the. The onus on the players to a organize workouts for themselves as individuals, but also it helps develop leaders where those leaders, those guys that are, whether they’re upperclassmen or just leaders that want to get the team together and organize things so that they can work out or play pickup or whatever it is, it helps to develop that leadership aspect of guys within their program or girls within their program.
And it’s just. I think there’s something to be said for getting away from it. And as much as I think about my own time at Ken, and I can remember that seasons where our season would end and the next day I would go to the annex and go play just so I could just play as opposed to being in a formal workout or having, having a coach, you know, looking over your shoulders.
It’s like, okay, I can go and just play some pickup basketball. And I think when you’re with your program, 11 months out of the year, To me, you’re never [01:16:00] getting a chance to refresh that battery. And I often wonder, think looking at that situation with guys and how they’re playing today, going through those programs.
And I wonder how 1988, my cleansing would have reacted to have that 11 months out of the year. And again, obviously you would have adjusted and I would have figured it out, but just, there’s a part of me that says I loved pick up basketball and summer basketball and working on my own so much that. I think I would have, I think I would have missed if I wouldn’t have been able to do that in the summertime or would have had to stay on campus and just, you know, go through individual workouts and just continue to kind of be in the same environment that I was in all throughout the season.
If that makes any sense.
Dave Grube: [01:16:41] It does Mike and I think the summer, the pickup games. Are a great way to expand your game. You know, I, I mean, I would, I would say to a player that maybe was kind of a role player, Hey, you know, work, work on going to the basket. Don’t be afraid to take some bad [01:17:00] shots or whatever, you know, just expand your game.
And then when practice starts, you know, we’ll, we’ll pull you back in and tell you what you can do and what you can’t do. But when you’re. With the coaches all the time, you know, I’m sure the coach was saying, Hey, that’s a bad shot. Don’t do this to that or whatever, because as you’re coaching them, you know, and I think the summer is a great time to expand your game and maybe develop some, some areas of your game that you presently don’t have.
Mike Klinzing: [01:17:32] Yeah. Pickup games just for me, I’ve always said. And I think that one of the things that I learned more than anything else was. You had an opportunity to play against guys of all different skill levels, all different ages. And if you’re a 15 year old kid or a 14 year old kid, who’s probably about the time that I started going and try to work my way into games with older players and adults, even if they weren’t very good.
If you’re a 14 year old kid and you’re playing against somebody who’s 27 and they may not be the best [01:18:00] basketball player, but I can guarantee you, they don’t want to get embarrassed by a 14 year old kid. And so they’re going to bump you in and bang in and do all kinds of things. To try to stop you from scoring.
And those are things that. Helps you develop as a basketball player, it helps you figure out how to use your body and how to do different things. It helps you to stand up for yourself and develop that part of your character as well, because nobody’s going to stand, nobody’s going to stand up for you out on the playground.
You got to figure out how to advocate for yourself and get yourself into games and fill your roles so that. People who maybe like the score a little bit more, you can pass the ball or you better make it open shot. You better make it open shot will be pass it to you. If you’re a 14 year old or you’re not getting picked up again.
And those are things that I just think kids today, because they only play with fans in the stands with mom and dad. They’re with a coach that you made a great point of, Hey, try some things that you don’t normally do where there isn’t a scoreboard and there isn’t a ref and there isn’t a whole bunch of pressure on you.
You’re just playing. For fun and kids today just don’t get to do that [01:19:00] nearly as much as kids grew up in past years. And I think there’s benefits, I’ve said it before there’s benefits to the system today. And then I think in some cases, not all, but in some cases, kids get exposed to better coaching. I think there’s more knowledgeable coaches out there at the youth level than there was when you and I are growing up.
Like basically my dad helped me and other than that, I never had a coach other than my high school coach. And. As far as like off season workouts and that stuff, it was more me putting, putting those things together and trying to figure it out. Whereas today kids have trainers and they go and they get, I think they’re more technically sound.
They’re probably more skilled. Like if you think about the 12th man on a high school team today, they’re probably more skilled than the 12th manager at the time when you were playing or I were playing, but at the same time, I’m not sure that their basketball IQ, especially amongst the best players on high school teams.
I’m not sure the basketball IQ is higher with players today.
Dave Grube: [01:19:54] I would agree. I would say one thing, I don’t know if players shoot the ball any better today than, [01:20:00] than I, I just, I, I think shooting on the part of a lot of players today is kind of a lost art. You know what I mean? Everything. You’re going to see dumps, highlight films with dumps and everything.
One of the, one of the years, the most enjoyable year I had at camp Mike was the first year. And if you remember the team I inherited lost the top seven players, rambling, Wilson cleansing, Walton banks, Keith Kilian, and the players I had coming back were like, right. Rob cook, rake, Holeman. Jeff Anderson guys that really didn’t play that much, but you know, something, they could all shoot the ball and it was fun coaching those guys because they were coachable and they were anxious to get a chance to play.
And, you know, you can win games if you can shoot the ball shooting covers up a lot. A lot of sense. [01:21:00] Sure does.
Mike Klinzing: [01:21:00] Let me ask you this. This is not, I think this will be a good question to kind of wrap things up with. Cause it goes, we can go backwards. To your time and what you just described there when you were an assistant and a head coach, and then kind of think about how basketball is played today.
When you think about the game today, and just the way the three pointer has sort of taken over basketball from the NBA level all the way back to for sure high school and probably even younger than that. And then you think about some of the teams that you were involved with at candor at Capitol or Heidelberg, and just maybe talk a little bit about what you think the impact of the three would have been.
If you think about some of the teams that you were involved with, how that might’ve changed the way those teams played, or maybe just the level of success they might’ve had.
Dave Grube: [01:21:47] Well, you know, the three point shot let’s see that came in. Oh, I guess when I was at Capitol. it probably wouldn’t have changed the way [01:22:00] I coached to be honest with you, because I don’t think I would’ve opened it up to a lot of three point shooting.
I mean, the game has changed so much. I guess I should speak to that more member of camp. The main offense under coach McDonald was a high post set. A lot of cutting off the high posts, moving away from the basketball. Mmm in an eye. Every team I ever coached was pretty much motion. You know, a lot of screaming away, very few balls screens, offending.
I mean flare screens, downstreams reading the defense curl cuts, fade pets, basket cuts, all that. If you watch the game today, everything is facing and ball screens. You could change uniforms of the teams at half halftime and still see if the sec. Yeah, because it’s the NBA, it’s an influence of the NBA where it’s just, everything is ball screening, individual moves, [01:23:00] ball scream, very movement, very little movement away from the ball.
Other than maybe I would say the warriors, you know, I think, you know, Seth Curry gets a lot of shots cause he’s a great screener. He screens cuts. Everyone goes with the cutter, they switch or whatever, and he’s smart enough and he gets open and he gets a lot of shots by being a good screener. Very few teams do that.
Everything now is the high ball screen and everything’s off a Gribble penetration. You go to the NBA games and if you look at the workout coaches, what are they working on? Shots off the dribble? I mean, all this teardrop shots, I mean, step back jumpers, all that stuff, which we never would have allowed, but now, you know, you never would have worked on it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:23:46]
I think about. The number of the number of pick and rolls. I ran from an offensive standpoint while I was at Kent. I mean, maybe I could count them on one hand, the number of times, the number of times that [01:24:00] we used a pick and roll with, you know, with somebody coming off and be having the ball in my hands.
So that’s one thing. And then the second thing I think about when I think about my career and I’ve said this before, but I can never remember ever in my life. I can never remember dribbling in to the basket, driving to the basket and then turning around and kicking the ball back out to like the top of the key.
Maybe you would get under the basket and throw it to the corner. Maybe I’ve never remembered driving under the basket with the idea that I’m then going to throw it out to somebody behind the three point line. You’re always trying to set somebody up inside for a shot close to the basket, and the game’s just totally different than I look at.
The number of attempts at shooting threes, the number of threes that I took, and I think, okay, if you took me from 1988 89, and you throw me into the game today, how many threes would I have been asked to take or been allowed to take? [01:25:00] I forget what I shot, but, you know, I think, I think I was over, I think I was over 40%, at least two, maybe of the years or, or close to it.
And you know, you think about man, if you’re a 40%, three point shooter, how many shots, how many threes, what your coach wants you taking at this point? It’s just interesting to think. And obviously there’s other factors that go into it, but. It’s just amazing how different the game is in terms of how it’s played.
And, you know, you talked about the motion and the note screens off the ball and all that stuff. And kids today, that’s almost like a foreign language because it’s just everybody it’s either screen or roll or it’s dribble drive. And you’re just trying to draw penetration that, kick it out. And so, I don’t know.
I said it’s interesting. It’s definitely a, it’s definitely a different game than, than it used to be for sure.
Dave Grube: [01:25:49] It is there, there was no doubt about it. And you know, I’d like to think that someday it may come back to that. I know Dick bene, who’s Tony. Bennett’s [01:26:00] a dad who coaches at Virginia who does a great job.
I know he runs a camp in the summer and the whole idea of the camp is. What you can do away from the basketball in terms of cutting screening, all that that’s all I teach is passing. I mean, there’s no, no dribble drive, nothing like that, which is kind of an interesting concept.
Mike Klinzing: [01:26:20] Well, it seems like there’s a balance to be had between the two styles.
It seems like you can completely understand why the way that you coach or the way that I played. Has gone away with the advent of the three and the, just the analytics and the math. And you understand why it makes sense yet at the same time, I watch a lot of teams that aren’t skilled enough at the things that you need to be good at in order to play that way.
Or you’re not a good enough shooter, or you don’t have enough one-on-one skill to break your defender down and be a good enough passer to find the open player outside the three point line. I just think there’s a fine line, that if you could know those two styles to me, that that’s what makes the most sense from a coaching [01:27:00] standpoint and trying to figure out what you’re going to do with your program.
So we are coming up here on an hour and a half, so I want to wrap things up, coach and I’m sure we could, we could continue to go on for hours But it’s been, this has been an absolute pleasure. We will have to definitely do it again. Cause I think there’s a ton more that we could dive into. And I’d love to be able to talk a little bit more about your transition from being an assistant, to being a head coach or talk about some of the lessons that you learned over the course of your career that we really didn’t get to get to.
So we’ll have to make sure that we do it again, but I can’t thank you enough for jumping on with us and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.